Council to adopt budget next week

Langley won’t have as much to spend in 2009, but city employees will see modest pay increases next year if the city council adopts next year’s proposed budget at the council meeting Monday.

Council members have given preliminary approval for the $3.8 million spending plan for next year. It includes a 1-percent increase in property taxes, as well as rate increases for sewer and water customers.

Next year’s budget will be smaller by almost a million dollars: $984,849.

City officials say the overall drop of 20 percent is mostly due to the wrap-up of several street projects and the closing of the harbor fund, which won’t be needed once the city hands over the Langley Marina to the Port of South Whidbey in January.

According to the city’s proposed 2009 budget, the general fund, the pot of money that pays for police, parks, planning, municipal court costs and other general government activities, will shrink to a budget of $1,509,751 next year.

Even so, city workers will do better next year under the proposed budget.

City council members have already given a unanimous thumbs up to a pay increase for Mayor Paul Samuelson.

The mayor’s salary has climbed from $15,599 in 2006, when Neil Colburn was mayor, to $53,532 in 2009.

Including benefits, the mayor’s total compensation package has also grown, from $37,794 in 2007 to $70,127 in next year’s budget. In 2009, the executive’s budget will total $104,713.

Other city workers will see a cost-of-living increase of 3.92 percent. Employees are also eligible for merit raises that range from 1 to 3 percent.

The council’s budget is set at $6,477 next year; down from $6,950 this year. The fund pays for council salaries, training, voter registration and election costs.

Residents will see higher sewer bills in the coming year. The council is also expected to review proposed rate increases at its meeting on Dec. 1; those rate hikes have already been included in next year’s budget.

The monthly sewer rate is currently $34.43. It would rise to $37.93 in 2009.

An increase in monthly water rates is also included in the budget. The current in-city base rate is $22.25, which will rise to $23.25 in 2009.

On the revenue side, total tax collections are expected to rise from

$808,889 this year to $833,727 next year.

License and permit fees are expected to rise from $84,910 to $85,221; fines and forfeits from traffic tickets and other infractions are also predicted to have a slight increase.

Langley expects to bring in $347,917 in property taxes next year. The number reflects a 1 percent increase, plus the value of new construction, above 2008’s property tax stream.

The city collected $319,932 in property taxes in 2006, and $325,736 in 2007.

The city council will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1 in city hall.

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